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Stuart Dalgleish 27th Apr 2010 - 14:35

Ashes success in the Caribbean?

The third installment of the ICC World Twenty20 kicks off on Friday and I think it's about time that the 'old guard' had some success in the shortened format of the game!

I'm talking about England and Australia, who so far have disappointed in the Twenty20 tournaments.

Obviously I would prefer it to be England, but the Aussies at the minute are the top dogs as far as limited overs cricket goes and will take some stopping to go on and claim their first Twenty20 title.

They have a captain in Michael Clarke (33/1 top tournament batsman) who is at the peak of his game, he has a marvellous shot selection, a sensible head on his shoulders too so doesn't lash out unnecessarily and is averaging over 50 in the last year or so.

His supporting cast are no slouches with the bat too; David Warner (12/1) is a real powerhouse at the top of the order and Shane Watson (12/1) has proved to be really adept at opening in these shortened formats of the game. In the series against England last summer in particular he batted with real poise and precision.

Of course the Hussey brothers know their way to the boundary rope too, either of David (40/1) or Michael (50/1) could feature prominently at the top of the run charts come the end of the tournament.

And if their batting is impressive, their bowling attack could go through top order batsman like they're pins at a bowling alley.

Mitchell Johnson (16/1 top tournament bowler) got a bit of stick last summer with his hit and miss performances in the Ashes, but he ended the year by collecting the ICC Cricketer of the Year so should be full of confidence going to the West Indies.

He will be ably backed by Dirk Nannes (16/1) and Shaun Tait (20/1), Brett Lee (25/1) has travelled with the squad but had to pull out of the IPL through injury and has been ravaged by problems for the last couple of years so it's unlikely he'll actually play that many games.

With the squad that the Aussies have assemble it's no surprise to see them as the 3/1 favourites.

I think Paul Collingwood's men could be the team to stand up to the challenge though and land England's (10/1) first piece of tournament silverware ever.

Colly (40/1 top tournament batsman) has a fairly inexperienced side as only three members of the 15-man squad has played over 20 Twenty20 games, however they do have quite a few players who've excelled in the domestic game over the last couple of years, including Craig Kieswetter (33/1 top tournament batsman) and Eoin Morgan (40/1).

You could argue that both players (along with quite a few others) shouldn't really be playing in the Three Lions colours having both been born outside of England, but Andy Flower hasn't done anything wrong in picking them.

After staying in the country for a specified amount of time they are able to qualify for the England team, although Morgan I imagine will get a bit of flack from the Irish fans when he lines up against the country of his birth on May 4.

The likes of Kevin Pietersen (20/1 top tournament batsman) and Michael Lumb (33/1) both did OK in the IPL so will add vital runs to England's scorecard.

The bowling attack is ever improving for England; Tim Bresnan (40/1 top tournament bowler), who's made a fine start to the County Championship for Yorkshire, is developing into a decent allrounder on all fronts after originally struggling when called up for Test action and should be a key member of the team.

James Anderson (25/1) and Stuart Broad (28/1) are two of the three mainstays with their excellent line and length which has been consistent for a few years now, and Graeme Swann (20/1) is now undoubtedly one of the top spinners in the world, certainly the best England have produced in my years of watching them.

The only player I have reservations with in the England team is Luke Wright (66/1 top tournament batsman), I genuinely like the guy but I'm just not sure he always knows the right shot to play and with Kieswetter around his days could be numbered, perhaps his captain Collingwood can give him lessons in that department though.

These are the two teams I expect to be fighting it out for the trophy but what of the other countries taking part?

South Africa (4/1) should be there or thereabouts, but we've been saying that for the last few tournaments and they haven't always lived up to expectations.

Graeme Smith's (16/1 top tournament batsman) team have a wealth of batting talent, with Jacques Kallis (10/1) arguably the form player of the tournament after having such a successful run with the bat in India, he will be key to their chances, if he isn't fatigued after all the games he's played in the IPL then I'd expect him to be in amongst the wickets (50/1 top tournament bowler) and runs in the West Indies.

Players such as AB de Villiers (33/1 top tournament batsman), Herschelle Gibbs (40/1) and Loots Bosman (28/1) should all contribute with the bat, but can the team as a whole hold their nerve when it gets to the crunch?

Pakistan (7/1) have got to the final of both World Twenty20s so far and are the current holders, but I'm not sure their squad is particularly high on morale after a completely demoralising tour of Australia where they lost all of their nine matches

Following that tour, Shoaib Malik and Naved-ul-Hasan were banned for a year and Mohammaad Yousuf and Younis Khan were banned permanently after being accused of infighting.

With low self esteem and the lack of their star bowler Umar Gul I can't see Pakistan managing to successfully defend their title.

India are 9/2 shots, and all of their players are well and truly in the Twenty20 groove after the Indian Premier League, but could that actually hinder their chances?

I think yes, as other teams' squads have had players sit out the IPL and will be fresher for it, once the Indian's get into the Super 8s stage tiredness will surely start to tell as the opponents get a little tougher than Afghanistan (250/1).

Sri Lanka (11/2) could be a threat, but their side is aging now and should they slip up against New Zealand (12/1) in their opening game then they could be up against it to even get out of the group stage.

They have two VERY dangerous bowling options in Lasith Malinga (14/1 top tournament bowler) and Muttiah Muralitharan (18/1) though and if they can get into the swing (or spin) of things then they will be able to keep the Sri Lankans competitive but pressure will be on them to succeed and I'm not sure if they can deal with it.

It will also be interesting to see if Angelo Mathews (40/1) and Ajantha Mendis (18/1) can repeat their form of last year in England on the West Indies pitches.

Whatever happens, it promises to be a fantastic tournament, make sure you stay with us right the way through to take advantage of our brillinat In-Play service for all the value, and numerous markets will be available pre-match too.

 

 
 
 

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